If social services are concerned about the welfare of your children and think they may need to go to Court, they will invite you to a pre-proceedings meeting, also known as a PLO (Public Law Outline) meeting.
At the meeting, you can expect to talk about:
- The contents of your Letter Before Proceedings
- The social workers’ concerns
- The support they’ve offered you
- What you need to do to reduce the concerns they have about your children
- Timescales they will give you to carry out the actions you all decide on before things progress to Court proceedings
There will be a written record kept of the meeting in case anyone needs the information in the future.
You might already have had meetings with social workers, but a PLO meeting is different because it is often the last chance to discuss their concerns before the social workers ask to go to Court about your children.
What is the Purpose of a PLO Meeting?
The purpose of the meeting is to consider what needs to happen to protect your children and in turn prevent Court proceedings from having to go ahead.
Everyone in the meeting will have your children’s best interests in mind and the aim is to put a plan in place to improve the situation for you and your children.
Who Can Attend a PLO Meeting?
At the meeting, you can expect your social worker to bring a lawyer to advise them, and you are entitle to bring a lawyer too. You’re entitled to Legal Aid if you do choose to get legal advice which will cover the costs for you.
Our Care Proceedings Solicitors have helped many parents who have been asked to go to a PLO meeting and we can give you advice tailored to your situation.
How Long Does a PLO Meeting Last?
The meeting won’t be too long but it will last as long as it takes to discuss all of the social workers’ concerns and make a clear plan of what to do next.
After the PLO meeting, the plan you make will usually be reviewed within 6-8 weeks to see if things are getting better or if the Court will need to get involved.
The overall pre-proceedings process can last a number of months. If social workers think that things have started to get better for your children, they might decide that Court won’t be needed.
If the social workers think there has been no change, they might progress your case to Court proceedings but your Care Proceedings Solicitor can speak to you about that if it happens and help you prepare and continue to represent you in Court proceedings.
You should work closely with your Solicitor and your social worker throughout the pre-proceedings process so you can be sure you’re getting all the advice you can and reduce the chances of having to go to Court.
You’ll probably have regular meetings with your social worker and we can give you as much legal advice as you need during the PLO process.
Our Care Proceedings team are experts so we can spot the signs if we think things are going to be taken to Court, and we can talk through your options if this is the case. Get in touch for initial advice today.
For free legal advice call our Care Proceedings Solicitors
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